Rookie Marcus Jones already had returned a punt for a game-winning touchdown and lined up at cornerback for 75 defensive snaps for the New England Patriots this season. entering Thursday night’s game.
Against the Buffalo Bills, Jones played with the New England offense for the first time – and the former Enterprise High School and Troy standout needed only one snap to reach the end zone.
Lined up as a slot receiver on a second-and-5 play at the Buffalo 48-yard line, Jones took a step back at the snap, caught a screen pass from quarterback Mac Jones and proved too fast for the Bills defense as he raced to the end zone.
The Jones-to-Jones touchdown gave the Patriots a 7-3 lead over the Bills with 4:46 left in the first quarter on Thursday night.
A third-round selection in the NFL Draft on April 29, Marcus Jones came to New England with pass-catching experience.
The Associated Press selected Jones as a first-team All-American cornerback, and he received consensus All-American recognition in the return-specialist slot in 2021. He also received the 2021 Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player.
At Houston last season, Jones recorded 47 tackles, intercepted two passes, ran back 15 kickoffs for a 34.0-yard average and two touchdowns, returned 26 punts for a 14.4-yard average and two touchdowns and caught 10 passes for 109 yards and one touchdown.
Jones also caught five passes for 28 yards in 2018, his final season at Troy before transferring to Houston.
After receiving honorable-mention All-State recognition in 2015 at Enterprise, Jones earned ASWA first-team honors in 2016, when he intercepted five passes, returned three punts, one kickoff and one fumble recovery for touchdowns and also caught a TD pass.
Jones scored his first NFL touchdown on Nov. 11 with an 84-yard punt return. It not only was the first punt return for a touchdown in the NFL this season, it came with only five seconds left in the Patriots’ AFC East game with the New York Jets and lifted New England to a 10-3 victory.
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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.
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